If you’re wondering why there’s an image of THE LORD OF THE RINGS here, it’s because my mother bought them for me when I was a kid. Read on to learn more.

In two days, on Sunday, here in the U.S. it will be Mother’s Day, a national holiday for more than a century. Many other nations also celebrate Mother’s Day or a similar holiday, some on the same day as the U.S. and some on other dates.

To tell the truth, Mother’s Day is a bittersweet holiday for me. Seven years ago breast cancer claimed my wife on Mother’s Day. Sadly we never had children of our own, but it has helped that I have a truly great mother.

My mother was there with me when my wife passed, and my mother was there with me in the aftermath. She remained my rock for years afterward and still is to some extent today. If not for my current girlfriend, a mother herself, I’m sure I could still depend upon my mom for anything.

But even before the harsh times, my mother was always there for me, even when I didn’t know I needed her.

First off, she’s the best baker of cakes and pies in the world. And that’s not just me saying that. Everyone who has tasted one of her baked goods has fawned over how awesome the pies and cakes are. It’s not uncommon for folks to offer my mom money to bake them something, but she always turns them down. If time allows, she’ll go ahead and bake the goods and give them away for free.

You might be thinking, “But that’s just food. Good food can be found anywhere.” Okay, maybe there’s a lot of good food out there, but you’ve likely never tasted something my mom has baked. Believe me, “good food” doesn’t do her baking justice.

More importantly, my mother has always been supportive of my career as a writer, whether it was back in the days when I was a journalist or in more recent years when I spend my time penning tales of slashing swords and deadly dragons.

In fact, it was my mother who purchased for me my first collection of THE HOBBIT and THE LORD OF THE RINGS way back in 1981. They were the brightly-colored Ballantine paperback third editions (see image above), and sadly I no longer have that collection. A few years earlier she had bought for me a boxed soundtrack of THE HOBBIT animated movie from Rankin/Bass.

Now my mother buying those things for me might not seem a big deal to some of you reading this, especially you younger folks who have grown up in an age much more friendly toward genre fiction and nerd culture, but back in the day where I grew up in Kentucky there simply wasn’t a lot of interest and sometimes not even a lot of tolerance for anything or anyone having to do with fantasy literature.

And there was my mother, a simple woman from the mountains of Appalachia, who without any prodding from me went out and purchased these special items. Just for me. All the more, at that young age (I wasn’t even a teenager yet) I hadn’t really let my mom know of my interests in fantasy or that I thought I might want to be a writer when I grew up.

Yet somehow she knew.

Maybe it was because STAR WARS had hit so big during my childhood. I don’t know. I’ve never asked how she knew. Maybe mothers just know these kind of things.

Then there’s my girlfriend. She sometimes voices fears that she’s not been a great mother to her two boys, but I have to disagree with her. Like my mother has been for me, she is a rock for her boys when they need her. She is always there for them. They are at an age where they don’t want to lean on their parents too much, and I understand that, but they know she is there for them when they need her.

It’s women like these who I would like to honor this weekend as Mother’s Day arrives. They are good people, not simply because they are mothers biologically but because they are more than that. They are mothers emotionally and spiritually. They rally around their families, especially their children. They work hard and they often do for others without a thought of anyone doing anything for them. They are loving and caring, and they are deserving of this special day and so much more.

Admittedly the sad truth is some people don’t have good mothers. Some have had to suffer through awful parents who have brought scars to last a lifetime. I’m sorry for those individuals who have had to cope with such in their life, especially during their youth. I wish they could have had positive figures as their mothers and fathers, and I would not want to belittle their pain. I hope they have found others to turn to in their lives, and maybe at some point they have found peace with their parents in some manner.

Winding down now, I’d like to suggest to everyone reading this that they not forget Mother’s Day this year. It might not seem to be one of the big holidays like Christmas or Halloween, but it’s still an important holiday. It’s important to honor our heroes, and if anything, good mothers are heroes.

We should treat them as such.